New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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A day after retaining key free agent Mike Evans, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have secured another, on Tuesday using their 2024 franchise tag on safety Antoine Winfield Jr., guaranteeing the All-Pro veteran $17.1 million for the upcoming season, per ESPN.

While this would lock Winfield in for the 2024 season, it also doesn't preclude the team from diving into long-term extension discussions throughout the offseason. The two sides would have until July 17 to hammer out an extension before Winfield would be forced to play on his tender. 

The 25-year-old is coming off his best season in the NFL as a key fixture in Tampa Bay's secondary. His clutch play throughout the year earned him All-Pro honors for the first time in his career. In 17 games, the former second-round pick totaled 122 tackles, six sacks, 12 pass breakups and three interceptions. Winfield's six forced fumbles were also tied for the league lead. 

With Winfield targeted for the tag, that would seem to free up quarterback Baker Mayfield to hit free agency unless the Bucs can ink him to a long-term extension before the start of the new league year on March 13.